Possession of Land in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Buckinghamshire County Council v Moran
    • Court of Appeal
    • 13 Feb 1989

    If the law is to attribute possession of land to a person who can establish no paper title to possession, he must be shown to have both factual possession and the requisite intention to possess (" animus possidendi"). A person claiming to have "dispossessed" another must similarly fulfil both these requirements.

  • JA Pye (Oxford) Ltd v United Kingdom (44302/02)
    • House of Lords
    • 04 Jul 2002

    From 1833 onwards the only question was whether the squatter had been in possession in the ordinary sense of the word. Para 8(1) of Schedule 1 to the 1980 Act defines what is meant by adverse possession in that paragraph as being the case where land is in the possession of a person in whose favour time "can run". It is directed not to the nature of the possession but to the capacity of the squatter.

    There will be a "dispossession" of the paper owner in any case where (there being no discontinuance of possession by the paper owner) a squatter assumes possession in the ordinary sense of the word. Except in the case of joint possessors, possession is single and exclusive. Therefore if the squatter is in possession the paper owner cannot be.

    What is crucial is to understand that, without the requisite intention, in law there can be no possession. Such intention may be, and frequently is, deduced from the physical acts themselves. But there is no doubt in my judgment that there are two separate elements in legal possession. It is not the nature of the acts which A does but the intention with which he does them which determines whether or not he is in possession.

  • Hunter v Canary Wharf Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 24 Apr 1997

    If the occupier of land suffers personal injury as a result of inhaling the smoke, he may have a cause of action in negligence. But he does not have a cause of action in nuisance for his personal injury, nor for interference with his personal enjoyment. It follows that the quantum of damages in private nuisance does not depend on the number of those enjoying the land in question.

  • University of Essex v Djemal
    • Court of Appeal
    • 14 Mar 1980

    In my judgment the jurisdiction to make a possession order extends to the whole of the owner's property in respect of which his right of occupation has been interfered with, but the extent of the field of operation of any order for possession which the court may think fit to make will no doubt depend upon the circumstances of the particular case.

  • Bruton v London & Quadrant Housing Trust
    • House of Lords
    • 24 Jun 1999

    The decision of this House in Street v. Mountford [1985] A.C. 809 is authority for the proposition that a "lease" or "tenancy" is a contractually binding agreement, not referable to any other relationship between the parties, by which one person gives another the right to exclusive occupation of land for a fixed or renewable period or periods of time, usually in return for a periodic payment in money.

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